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Chief: Richmond police officer 'fighting for life' after suspect shot her during traffic stop

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Posted at 7:27 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 17:29:32-04

RICHMOND — A Richmond Police Department officer is in critical condition after she was shot during a traffic stop Wednesday and a suspect is hospitalized after officers shot him, according to police.

Around 6:30 p.m., Indiana State Police Sgt. Scott Keegan said a Richmond police K-9 officer responded to assist other officers with a traffic stop near North 12th Street and C Street.

The officer, Seara Burton, stopped a man riding a moped and used her K-9 partner, Brev, to conduct an open-air sniff. Brev alerted to the possible presence of narcotics.

While officers were talking with the suspect, Phillip M. Lee, 47, of Richmond, Lee pulled out a firearm, fired several rounds at officers and struck Burton. Other officers returned fire, hitting Lee and he ran.

Lee was later apprehended after a chase, Keegan said. He was taken to Reid Hospital in Richmond in unknown condition.

At this time, it is unknown what the traffic stop was for.

Richmond Police Department Officer Seara Burton and K-9 Brev

Richmond Police Department Chief Michael Britt said Burton, 28, is a four-year veteran and "fighting for her life" at a hospital in Dayton, Ohio.

She is in "very" critical condition, Britt said. She is a K-9 handler and was described by Britt as a fantastic officer and fine person.

"This is indeed a terrible time for our city and our department," Britt said. "Those of you who pray, I ask that you pray for her. She could use it. The police department is obviously devastated ... we hope the best."

Britt says regardless of what his officers were doing, the entire department came in Wednesday night to support Burton and each other.

"It was very heartwarming to see the response by my entire department. That's one of the things we need to focus on in modern-day law enforcement is the family concept, team concept. I saw that tonight and it made me feel good."

Britt said she is engaged and going to get married next weekend.

Richmond Mayor David Snow says Burton is a "tremendous" officer who has supported her community and now the city is asking for their support for her.

Lee was arrested on probable cause and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office will determine formal charges.

ISP is asking anyone with information to call them.

Editor's note: Indiana State Police on Thursday issued a correction on the spelling of the suspect's name.